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March 8, 2014

Na Li


N. LI/J. Zheng
6‑1, 7‑5

THE MODERATOR:  Questions, please.

Q.  What was it like to walk out there as the top seed and open up your tournament?
NA LI:  Feeling pretty good.  You know, first time to be the top seed in a big tournament.  Yeah, at least I'm still in the tournament (smiling).

Q.  Were you happy with how you played?
NA LI:  If see the result of course yes, but still feeling I have so many things I can improve.  Because I think this is the first match after Doha, two weeks, and of course for myself I cannot be like very 100% to be the first match.
But I was happy at least I can learn something from today's match.

Q.  There are not that many Chinese players on the tour.  Is it still special to play another Chinese player, or is it something you're used to?
NA LI:  I think always something between us, because we are from same country.  Couple years we stay the national team.  We training together, eating together.  We know pretty much between of us, so...
But on these couple years I always play Zheng Jie or Peng Shuai, always two Chinese girls.  I was wishing we could have more Chinese players coming, can have play with them.

Q.  Do you think there will be a lot more in the future?  People have talked about how you have inspired a lot of girls and boys to play, start playing tennis.  Do you think like in 10, 20 years there could be 20 Chinese players top 100 or something?
NA LI:  I wish, yeah.  But I think good news is at least this year in Melbourne we can see a lot of Chinese players in Melbourne.  That was good for us.

Q.  You played out there today in front of thousands of fans.  You speak to reporters all the time and do endorsements.  But in your book you said tennis is a very lonely sport.  Could you talk about that?  How is tennis lonely, a lonely sport for you?
THE MODERATOR:  Lonely as in you're by yourself a lot, you feel a lot.
NA LI:¬† Because, I mean, if I stand up on the court I only can decide for myself on the court.¬† But I think this is not, how do you say‑‑ I say thanks for the fans.¬† You know, the fans was come to the court to supporting us, to see the tennis.
For us, the job is we play good tennis and then make their enjoy watch tennis.

Q.  We see a lot of the top players playing doubles at a tournament like this.  Why not you?
NA LI:  I think doubles court for me too small enough (Laughter.)  I don't know.  Maybe last time I play doubles was 2007.  Or I play Olympics I think with a young girl.
When I was stand up the court I even didn't know what I have to do.  Even I return, I was feeling the court so small.  Everywhere is people (smiling).  I cannot do it.
So for me, I really, how do you say, focus on my singles right now to see maybe I can, I even can improve a little bit.

Q.  Do you not like doubles?
NA LI:  Not really, no, because you have to, how do you say, talk to your opponent all the time.  Yeah.

Q.  It would help your serve and volley, though.
NA LI:  That would be good idea (smiling).  Maybe I will thinking about.

Q.  How much time do you spend looking at the draw?  Is it just one match at a time, or do you look ahead at all?
NA LI:  No, I even didn't know who I play next round.
So doesn't matter if you are top seed or if you are not seed.  You just follow the schedule to be there round by round.

Q.  Tonight is Daylight Savings time; watches and clocks go forward one hour.  Will you go to bed early?
NA LI:  I don't know.  Maybe.  At least I have to try to have very good, nice dinner first, okay?  And then to see what I can do (smiling).

Q.¬† When you haven't played for a couple of weeks and you come to a tournament, as you said, you can be a little bit nervous because you don't know how you're going to play.¬† So what does Carlos say to you going into a first‑round match like this when you haven't played for a couple of weeks?
NA LI:  You know, the first match always tough, because like I say before, you didn't know what happen on the court.  All you can do is like to try to do your best.  If you cannot hit good tennis, only one way is running all the shots and to fight every point.
This is the only you can do, because you cannot say, Oh, today I didn't hit good tennis so that's why I lose the match.  But is not a reason, you know.

Q.  You have had a very long career.  Some ups, some downs.
NA LI:  Yeah.

Q.  Much advice from many people.  Maybe what is the best piece of advice that you have gotten in your career?
NA LI:  What do you think?

Q.  Not to retire.
NA LI:  (Smiling).  Okay.  I try as long as I can stay in this tour, okay?
I think everyone know I have two years to retire before.  I don't think this is a bad choice, because at least I was learn a lot from these two years.
So many thing other than tennis.  I think this experience also help me right now stay on the court to see different way from the tennis.

Q.  How do you see it differently now?
NA LI:  I think now much smart before.  Because I think before the tennis just one way, but now I can see so many different ways.

Q.¬† You have hit a lot of different shots over the course of your career‑‑ forehands, backhands, serves, volleys‑‑ what's the most memorable shot you've ever hit?
NA LI:  Never hit?

Q.  No, that you have hit.  The one that you always remember.
NA LI:  Oh (smiling).  It's tough to choose.  I think I have a very good forehand, backhand, also serve.

Q.  But do you remember one specific shot, maybe match point at, you know, the French Open or Australian Open or some crazy circus shot that you hit?
NA LI:  Maybe one shot I was play against Kim Clijsters.  Was my match point for me, and then the very short one and I didn't hit a winner.  I lose the match (smiling).
Yeah.  I'll cry later (Laughter.)

Q.  Do you have a happier shot that you can remember?
NA LI:  Happy shot?

Q.  Yeah, that was a very sad shot.
NA LI:  I'm happy right now all the shots I do.

Q.  Now, what's the best part of the desert here, this part of the world?
NA LI:  I like this city, you know.  I was feeling more quiet.  And also, how do you say, I was feeling like postcard or like picture.  Everything was clear.  Yeah.

Q.  Two years ago, the two years that you went away from tennis and you were doing the studies and things like that, how much did you play at that time?  And then when you decided to come back, how much in advance did you start working?
NA LI:  The two years I think I was play when we have like two month off.  Because like for summertime, I was play for my university.  So I got five points, you know.  Because if I win tournament, I got five points.  I was like, Okay, I should go there.
I was training two weeks and come to play tournament and back to university again.
So during that time I didn't hit tennis anymore.  Because at that time I really didn't like tennis.  If I saw tennis court, I was walking around.  I never go through.  Yeah.

Q.  When you were in university, did you study journalism?
NA LI:  Yeah.

Q.  If you were a journalist and your editor said, Write a story about the career of NA LI, what would you say?
NA LI:  From now or from when first time I retired?

Q.  From when you started.
NA LI:  Pretty good player but not good chance for her (smiling).  Because during time I was feeling I have very good, how do you say, body like healthy quickly.  But, you know, I cannot improve my ranking so I cannot find where is the problem.  This is why I was choose, I say, Stop.  You cannot improve anymore.

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